Ukraine’s emergency service officers told reorters on Saturday that they had removed 196 bodies of the 298 people who were on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 when it was shot down by a missile 60 kilomenters away from Russia-Ukraine border.
Around midday, observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Special Monitoring Mission inspected the three refrigerated train cars that will deliver the bodies for further investigation. They did so under the watch of dozens of armed pro-Russian activists.
“The special monitoring mission in its third day dealing with the incident has now monitored the location where bodies are being refrigerated in three wagons,” Alexander Hug, deputy chief of the mission, told journalists at the Torez train depot.
“We have not been able to count them as that would be too difficult in this situation,” he added.
Mission spokesperson Michael Bociurkiw told the media representatives that entering the cars is impossible without the use of special equipment. “The stench is very, very bad,” he said.
Souces familiar with the matter rold reporters that the train “will likely go toward one of two stations next: north to Debaltseve, or east to Ilovaisk, in the direction of Donetsk, the pro-Russian rebels’ stronghold.”
Meanwhile, in Washington, Kerry criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin and threatened “additional steps” against Moscow.
“Drunken separatists have been piling bodies into trucks and removing them from the site,” he said on Sunday. “What’s happening is really grotesque and it is contrary to everything President Putin and Russia said they would do.”
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond urged Moscow to ensure international investigators had access to the crash sites. “Russia risks becoming a pariah state if it does not behave properly,” he told reporters.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he had spoken “overnight” to the Russian president for the first time about the crash, amid mounting horror over the treatment of victims’ remains. At least 27 Australian passengers were on the Malaysia Airlines flight.
“But there’s still a hell of a long way to go before anyone could be satisfied with the way that site is being treated,” Abbott said. “It’s more like a garden cleanup than a forensic investigation. This is completely unacceptable.”
Investigators from the U.N. aviation agency arrived at the place of the tragedy to help probe the crash, but a senior official said safety concerns prevented them from reaching the crash site.
“Until safe passage for them is assured, we don’t send people into that kind of situation,” said the official with the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization.
A Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 295 people crashed in east Ukraine’s conflict zone on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July, 17. The terrible accident left no signs of survivors at the scene near the village of Grabovo, in rebel-held territory close to the border with Russia.
Both sides in Ukraine’s civil conflict stand against each other, accusing opponents of shooting down the plane with a missile. Specialist still can’t find out why the jet came down.